Report: Bailout Spending Dwarfs Spending on Poverty and Global Warming

A new report from the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) shows that the US and Europe have spent $4.1 trillion responding to the financial crisis but have spent only a paltry amount addressing international problems in developing countries.

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A new report by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) has found that the United States and Europe have committed $4.1 trillion to rescuing financial firms. This amount is forty times more than they have spent combating climate change and poverty in the developing world.

The report, titled “Skewed Priorities: How the Bailouts Dwarf Other Global Crisis Spending,” opens with the following graph:

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The graph makes it abundantly clear where the US and Europe are focusing their money.

However, the report argues that by not addressing other crises, the US and Europe will face problems in the future:

“The world is facing multiple crises. In the United States and Europe, the financial crisis has now spread to the “real economy,” causing mass layoffs and dire predictions of more to come. In the developing world, many countries were already reeling from a food crisis — even before the financial crisis went global. Increased grain prices cost poorer economies $324 billion last year. And this food crisis is not yet over. While world prices for some products have declined in recent months, declines in the values of most developing world currencies have kept the cost of food in the stratosphere for the world’s poorest. And on top of the financial and food crises, the world faces a climate crisis that threatens the very future of the planet.

All three crises underscore the interconnectedness of every nation on the globe. The forecasts for skyrocketing poverty and joblessness in the developing world are bad news for workers in the richer nations who will likely face even more brutal competition for jobs in a globalized labor pool. The lack of sufficient resources for developing countries to address global warming will contribute to a climate catastrophe with devastating impacts for all countries.”

Despite this, the US and Europe have shown little interest in addressing these problems. They have spent 45 times more on the financial crisis than on developmental aid and 313 times more than they have spent on climate change.

In many cases, the US and Europe have spent more to rescue individual companies than they have in addressing developmental and climate crises. For example:

* The U.S. government spent $23.2 billion in aid to all developing countries in 2007. That’s less than the $29 billion to bail out investment bank Bear Stearns.

* The U.S. Congress has not approved any contributions to the developing world’s climate change efforts. Meanwhile, the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has spent more money — $13.2 billion — to cover deposits at 19 failed banks than Western European governments have committed in climate finance.

The report argues that by ignoring other global crises, the US and Europe will not be able to escape them, rather, they are just delaying action on issues that will become critically important overtime as they continue to threaten global stability.

Obama Promises a “New Energy Economy;” Remains Committed to Nuclear Power and “Clean Coal”

On Monday in Lansing, Democratic Party presidential candidate Barack Obama delivered a major speech unveiling his energy plan. While the speech offered a number of important policies, he remained committed to nuclear power and so-called “clean coal” technology, both of which have been opposed by environmental advocates.

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On Monday, Democratic Party presidential candidate Barack Obama delivered a major policy speech on energy at Michigan State University in Lansing. In the speech, Obama unveiled his energy plan and outlined a number of specific policies designed to lessen the United States’ dependence on foreign oil by switching to a renewable energy economy through a mix of new funding and expansion of oil production, nuclear power, and so-called “clean coal” technologies.

Obama began his remarks by putting them in the context of higher gas prices. He said that politicians–going back to Richard Nixon–have promised to reduced dependency on foreign oil yet it continues to increase, with the United States now getting a half of its oil from foreign sources. Obama said that current policy proposals–such as opening new areas to drilling–are insufficient and will not provide enough oil to lower prices, although they are politically popular. Instead, he said that every American should be given a $1,000 energy rebate paid for by taxes on excess oil company profits, that domestic production and exploration of oil and natural gas should be increased, and that 70 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve should be sold. However, he said that none of these–including expanded offshore drilling which he supports as part of a “compromise” on energy legislation–would do enough to end dependency on foreign oil.

Instead, Obama outlined his plans for an “all-hands-on-deck effort” aimed at transforming the United States’ economy with the “overarching goal” of eliminating reliance on oil from the Middle East and Venezuela within 10 years.

To accomplish this, Obama promises a $150 billion investment over the next ten years to build a “new energy economy” and to develop programs that spur investment from the private sector. He promised that he would help states–such as Michigan–build fuel-efficient cars and will get one million 150 mile-per-gallon plug-in hybrid cars on the road within six years. To facilitate that goal, he promised tax credits to consumers and $4 billion in loans to auto plants and manufacturers.

Obama also committed to having 10% of the nation’s energy coming from “renewable sources” by the end of his first term. He promised more research and development investment, while specifically promising to extend the Production Tax Credit for five years to encourage the production of wind power, solar power, and geothermal energy. He also set a goal of having 6 billion gallons of the United States’ fuel coming from biofuels by 2022. Obama expressed support for expanded nuclear production and “clean coal” energy as well.

Finally, he said that he will call on “businesses, government, and the American people” to meet the goal of reducing the demand for electricity by 15% by 2020. In this portion of his speech, he had few specifics, beyond “a goal of making our new buildings 50% more efficient over the next four years.”

According to Obama, all of these efforts will yield results by the end of his first term and will eventually lead to the creation of 5 million new jobs.

However, while some of what Obama said was refreshing–notably cutting carbon emissions to 80% of 1990 levels by 2050–he also remains committed to l so-called “solutions” to the energy situation and global warming that have received staunch opposition from environmental advocacy groups. For example, Obama remains committed to “clean coal” despite its negative environmental effects and uncertainty about the technology. Similarly, Obama is committed to developing nuclear power despite the environmental risks and huge financial costs. It is worth noting that over the past several years, Obama has received significant financial support from Exelon Corp, one of the nation’s largest operators of nuclear power plants.

Beyond the proposals outlined in Monday’s speech, Obama’s energy plan also makes several additional proposals on energy, global warming, and related issues. His entire energy plan is available online.

Study: Global Warming Could Cost Michigan Billions

A coalition in Michigan fighting proposed coal-fired power plants is citing a new study that predicts global warming could cost Michigan billions of dollars in lost commerce to bolster its case for government regulation of CO2 emissions.

Clean Energy Now–a coalition of groups in Michigan fighting several proposed coal plants–is citing a new study titled “Michigan: Assessing the Costs of Climate Change” to bolster its case for regulating CO2 emissions from power plants. The group is asking that Governor Jennifer Granholm issue an executive order directing the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to regulated carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants.

The study, conducted by the National Conference of State Legislators, predicts that Michigan could lose billions of dollars in commerce due to rising temperatures and declining water levels in the Great Lakes. Among the specifics, the study says:

* The cost for dredging operations used to combat falling water levels in the Great Lakes could see an increase of $92 million to $145 million per year

* The Detroit port alone is expected to lose an estimated $140 million annually, which will cost the area 1,500 jobs

* Overall job losses around the state could peak at 13,000, the study says

* The state’s agricultural industry could also see losses of as much as $20 billion annually, due to soil erosion caused by a hotter, dryer climate

Forum on Global Warming Short on Solutions

A City of Grand Rapids sponsored forum on global warming last night at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) was short on solutions and offered little new information for attendees on how they could address global warming.

A forum on global warming hosted by the City of Grand Rapids was held at Grand Valley State University’s (GVSU) Grand Rapids campus last night. Mayor George Heartwell and the Director of the Michigan Department of the Environmental Quality (DEQ) Steven Chester, both provided opening comments before presentations by three panelists. Mayor Heartwell boasted that Grand Rapids has made a larger reduction of carbon per capita than any other city in the country between 2000 and 2005, according to a new study by the Brookings Institute.

DEQ Director Steven Chester stated that Michigan has taken some “aggressive steps towards confronting its role in the creation of Greenhouse gases.” The evidence for these aggressive steps were that Governor Granholm signed the Greenhouse gas accord with other Midwest governors and that the state now has a Climate Action Council which was created in November of 2007. It is worth noting that while some environmental organizations are represented on this action council, most of the members are from universities, government, businesses, and business associations. However, he also stated that Michigan is the ninth largest emitter of CO2 in the country.

The first panelist was Dr. Knute Nadelhoffer from the University of Michigan. He presented some background information on what he called “undisputable evidence that humans are causing Global Warming.” Dr. Dadelhoffer has traveled to both of the poles and says that the changes have been dramatic. Biomass is decomposing near the Arctic and releasing large amounts of CO2, Arctic ice is melting, and the amounts of snow and ice at the poles has been steadily decreasing over the past 30 years. He said the Antarctic Peninsula is one of the most rapidly warming regions on earth and has increased by 5 degrees Fahrenheit since 1950. The most dramatic example the speaker provided was the disintegration of the Larsen B Ice Shelf near the Antarctic Circle. All of this information, according Dr. Nadelhoffer, was based on his own research and that of the conservative estimates that are from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports.

Karel Rogers, a retired GVSU professor and current board President of the West Michigan Environmental Action Council, followed Dr. Nadelhoffer. Dr. Rogers emphasized the negative impact on climate change that population growth has had over the past 100 years. This population growth has meant huge increases in population, mining, oil production, electricity consumption and the use of motorized vehicles, according to Dr. Rogers. She concluded her comments by offering what she referred to as policy recommendations. First, she said Michigan needs to integrate water use with energy planning, since 40% of fresh was use is for energy production. Second, she said that there needs to be serious energy conservation, which the professor said could be done with the construction of more LEED certified buildings. Lastly, she said that we cannot create new carbon sources, and that the world needs to be 80% below 2000 levels by 2050. Dr. Rogers specifically identified the effort to build new coal plants in Michigan and said these needed to be stopped.

The last speaker was David Ullrich, Executive Director of the Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Cities Initiative. He briefly discussed issues that cities are faced with that are related to global warming-sewage systems, water run off, snow removal, intense rains and drought. He also said that energy reduction was necessary but offered up no real solutions on how to achieve those reductions. The lack of concrete solutions was the case throughout the night as was a real absence of what sectors of society are the main culprits in causing global warming. The only corporation that was mentioned with any criticism was Exxon-Mobil and that comment was limited to their profits during the recent gas price increases. There was no mention of Exxon-Mobil’s funding of groups that dismiss the seriousness of global warming. In fact, several of the panelists stated that we need less regulation of industry and only needed to have a “real free market” that would allow the business community to figure out ways to make sustainability profitable.

After two hours of commentary from the panelists, the audience was finally allowed to ask questions. The question process was done through written statements that were handed to two volunteers from the Sierra Club who then sifted through questions they decided were relevant to give to the moderator. None of the questions that reached the moderator focused on solutions, but one did confront the DEQ director about his department’s role in granting new coal plant permits. Steven Chester stated that the way that the DEQ operates, they have no power to regulate the energy industry and that they are obligated by law to give the grants to these companies who request them. The only leverage they have, according to Dr. Chester, is to make a recommendation on the status of energy consumption and carbon emission in the state.

Another question that was addressed to the panel had to do with how the issue of global warming is relevant to marginal communities. The response was, “poor people are spending too much money on energy and have less for food. What poor people need to do was to retrofit their homes so that they will be more energy efficient.” The response didn’t take into consideration that many people don’t own their own homes nor does it address the fact that marginal communities are the most negatively impacted by global warming internationally, even though these communities are not responsible for the policy decisions made on this issue.

The only question to address policy had to do with what the panel thought about the Lieberman/Warner bill. Dr. Rogers said it was woefully inadequate and that the Union of Concerned Scientists provided a good analysis of this proposed legislation. David Ullrich said he would be in favor of the legislation since it took a step in the right direction.

Like many other forums that have been held on this topic in the past year, attendees left with little new information or concrete ways that they could be part of any efforts to seriously make a change on the issue of global warming.

The Press Cites Group Advancing Global Warming Inaction and “Skepticism”

Yesterday the Grand Rapids Press reported on per-capita carbon emissions in the Grand Rapids-Wyoming area, but also saw fit to include a two paragraph mention of a “conservative” organization called Grassfire.org that advances highly questionable claims about global warming.

On Thursday, the Grand Rapids Press reported on Grand Rapids’ per capita carbon emissions with an article on a study that was also covered by Mediamouse.org. However, in addition to citing the study and discussing its findings, the Grand Rapids Press decided to include a two paragraph reference to what it labeled as a “conservative group” called Grassfire.org:

“Such studies are meaningless to conservative groups such as Grassfire.org, which argues that reducing personal carbon footprints won’t help the planet and that energy use is the “lifeblood of our economy.”

Anticipating the Brookings study, Grassfire.org this week announced it would hold a national “Carbon Belch Day” — promoting barbecues and taking long drives — on June 12.”

However, the Grand Rapids Press failed to include any background on Grassfire.org or its views on global warming. Had the Press included them, it would have seen that the organization is far from a reputable source on global warming.

A good indicator of Grassfire.org’s views is the so-called “Carbon Belch Day” mentioned in the article. On June 14, Grassfire.org is rallying its supporters to generate extra carbon emissions “by hosting a barbecue, going for a drive, watching television, leaving a few lights on, or even smoking a few cigars.” Grassfire.org believes that this will raise awareness about “climate alarmism” while also critiquing the meaninglessness of “goofy save the earth mandates telling us to turn our lights off for an hour.” Moreover, the organization argues the day will have “at least as much impact on the so-called ‘planetary emergency’ of man-made global warming as the goofy save the earth mandates telling us to turn our lights off for an hour. In fact, since energy is the lifeblood of our economy, a healthy carbon belch just might do some good.”

The news release announcing the Carbon Belch Day is entirely devoid of science and offers no basis for any of its claims. Similarly the website for the day–touted in the news release–does not offer any evidence to support its overreaching claim that concern about global warming is “climate alarmism.” Instead, it offers the following reasons for why one should participate in Carbon Belch Day:

“In this world of carbon credits and endless “Green” propaganda, why would we encourage tens of thousands of people to increase their CO2 output on Carbon Belch Day?

* Because Al Gore’s “planetary emergency” is a bunch of hot air…

* Because shrinking your “carbon footprint” is not going to save the world from doom…

* Because CO2 isn’t even a pollutant — life needs CO2…

* Because energy is the fuel of human progress and man is not the “bad guy”…

* Because the real “planetary emergency” is the coming $1.2 Carbon Tax…

* And because it’s fun and your Carbon Belch might actually do some good!”

There is no evidence given to support any of these claims. On the website, “hot air” is linked to a page on another Grassfire operated website titled “So You’ve Heard Plenty About Global Warming.” That typo-laden web page boldly claims:

“The claim that global warming is a “crisis” has been thoroughly debunked by leading scientists around the world. Surveys show that most scientists do not buy into the hype that the modern warming is due to human activities. The majority of scientists agree that the Earth’s climate is very complex and insufficiently understood to make an accurate forecast.”

It cites a variety of global warming “skeptics” including Tim Ball and Roy Spencer. It also cites a CNN special hosted by Glenn Beck called “Exposed: Climate of Fear” which relied primarily on people with ties to the energy industry or who advocated debunked positions on global warming. Basically, it rehashes tired old and debunked claims by “skeptics” that global warming is not being caused by humans and that there is not enough scientific “proof” to justify action. Few of the claims made on the site would hold up to any level of scrutiny and they also contradict the scientific consensus that the humans are causing global warming.

Grassfire–aside from pulling a stunt to get media attention with its Carbon Belch Day–is actively campaigning against regulations and policies aimed at reducing global warming. On its website, there is a petition that people can sign opposing “U.S. participation in the Kyoto treaty or any such successor agreement, mandatory domestic limits on CO2, and any federal or state carbon “tax” or “cap-and-trade” system.” The site directs much of its opposition to global warming regulations towards Al Gore.

While it is true that Al Gore is a visible advocate of addressing global warming, he is not the end-all-and-be-all of the global warming debate. Gore’s claims are based on science developed by countless researchers. However, Grassfire’s focus on Gore–an easily polarizing figure to “conservatives”–provides a sure way to mobilize its supporters. Grassfire formed in 2000 and claims to be guided by “a strong and unwavering commitment to conservative, pro-family and pro-faith values.” During the 2004 presidential election, Grassfire.org ran ads attacking Democratic Party presidential candidate John Kerry and MoveOn.org (http://www.stealthpacs.org/profile.cfm?org_id=2612). Beyond global warming, it has worked on “conservative” issues including immigration, getting conservative judges confirmed for the Supreme Court, and abortion. It also has a reputation for being very tight-lipped about its finances.

So why did the Grand Rapids Press include a mention of Grassfire.org and its “Carbon Belch Day” in its article? The Press reporter failed to include any information from Grassfire.org that challenged the substance of the Brooking Institutes’s study of per-capita carbon emissions. Moreover, Grassfire’s claims on global warming should have been more than enough to indicate that it is not a reputable source on global warming. While the Grand Rapids Press failed to investigate Grassfire.org, a reporter at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review received a news release from Grassfire.org about global warming, investigated the organization, and raised concerns about its accountability–if one of their peers can do that kind of research, why can’t The Press?

Carbon Emissions Down in Grand Rapids, but Still Higher than Larger Urban Areas

A new report from the Brookings Institution has found that the Grand Rapids-Wyoming area’s per capita carbon footprint–a measure of carbon emissions from highway transportation and residential energy consumption–decreased by 14.66% between 2000 and 2005.

However, while this is good news, the Grand Rapids-Wyoming area’s numbers are still considerably higher than many larger urban areas. Grand Rapids-Wyoming residents had higher per capita carbon emissions than areas such as Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco. Grand Rapids-Wyoming residents had more per capita emissions from both highway transportation and residential energy.

The report says that in addition to state and local action, federal policy changes are needed to reduce carbon emissions in major metropolitan areas. The report calls policies that would:

* Promote more transportation choices to expand transit and compact development options

* Introduce more energy-efficient freight operations with regional freight planning

* Require home energy cost disclosure when selling and “on-bill” financing to stimulate and scale up energy-efficient retrofitting of residential housing

* Use federal housing policy to create incentives for energy- and location-efficient decisions

* Issue a metropolitan challenge to develop innovative solutions that integrate multiple policy areas

New Report Warns Congress of Global Warming Impact on the Great Lakes

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition has released a new report that urges the United States Congress to act to lessen the impact of global warming on the Great Lakes. The report synthesizes the current global warming and warns that warming temperatures will have direct impacts on the lakes including lower lake levels, more sewage overflows, and increased pressure to divert Great Lakes water to other regions.

Specifically, the report describes the following likely impacts:

* Daily high temperatures in the region will increase 5.4 to 10.8 degrees relative to what was typical from 1961-1990, with wintertime temperatures increasing even more than summer temperatures.

* Increased evaporation from warming lakes–particularly in winter–is expected to result in less ice cover, contributing to lower water levels and increases in lake-effect snow.

* Lake levels could drop during the next century by approximately 1 foot on Lake Superior, 3 feet on Lakes Michigan and Huron, 2.7 feet on Lake Erie, and 1.7 feet on Lake Ontario.

* Water quality will likely worsen as more intense storm events will send polluted urban and agricultural runoff to our waterways, leading to drinking water impacts, beach closings, and higher costs to water suppliers.

* Biological dead zones will increase, jeopardizing fish and other aquatic life.

* Great Lakes forests and grasslands will change as plants adapted to the area confront increasingly unsuitable habitat. The ranges of some plants and animals will shift northward, while other creatures will vanish.

The report–timed to coincide with a debate over global warming legislation in the US Senate–advocates the following federal policy solutions:

* Restoring the Great Lakes through full funding and implementation of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy, a comprehensive plan put forward by more than 1,500 citizens and backed by the region’s mayors, governors and Congressional delegation;

* Protecting the Great Lakes from water diversions by passing the Great Lakes Water Resources Compact, a regional agreement to ban diversions outside the region and promoting conservation within the region;

* Reducing greenhouse gas emissions to limit the magnitude of change to our climate and ecosystems; and,

* Generating ecosystem restoration funding through federal global warming legislation.

For additional background information on the impact of global warming on the Great Lakes, the organization has posted a PowerPoint presentation with more details on the impact of warming temperatures.

Craig James Retires from WOOD TV 8; Global Warming Views Won’t Be Missed

On Tuesday, WOOD TV 8 announced that meteorologist Craig James is retiring and that his last day on air will be June 27. As would be expected, WOOD TV covered this announcement with sentimental tributes that touted his time on air and skill at forecasting the weather. The Grand Rapids Press also covered James’ announcement, publishing a fluff piece on Craig James’ personal plans after retiring.

Interestingly, both reports touted Craig James’ blog on WOOD TV’s website. The Grand Rapids Press wrote that James “manages a blog focuses on global warming.” Similarly, WOOD TV 8 wrote:

“Early in 2007, Craig began a blog for woodtv.com that focused on global warming. Over that time and 100 blog posts, he’s garnered a worldwide readership and prompted a lively, thoughtful and at times rancorous online discussion over the causes of global warming, its effects and media coverage of it.”

Both outlets failed to note that James’ blog, far from simply discussing global warming, presents a view that minimizes the realities of global warming and presents a skeptical view that is outside of the scientific mainstream.

In a blog post announcing his retirement, James wrote:

“…many thanks to those of you who have read this blog on global warming and contributed so many great comments. Who knows, I may end up on another global warming blog at some time. In the meantime, please keep reading icecap.us and don’t let the global warming hysteria get you down.”

Given that James has consistently attacked evidence of global warming, it’s no surprise that he ended by plugging Icecap.us, a website started by a retired meteorologist named Joseph D’Aleo that regularly gives voice to global warming deniers.

Censoring Science: Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming

Click on the image to purchase this book through Amazon.com. Purchases help support MediaMouse.org.

Censoring Science: Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming and the Truth of Global Warming explores the efforts of the Bush administration–or at least its political appointees–to silence scientists studying global warming. The book focuses primarily on the work of Dr. James Hansen, a leading climatologist, but also touches on efforts to silence other scientists as well. The context for the book is the reality of global warming and recent attacks by the Bush administration–through direct means and cutting funding–aimed at reducing scientific discussion of global warming in the public and the media.

The majority of the book examines political appointees at NASA, which oversees James Hansen’s work at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, attempted to suppress the work of James Hansen. According to Bowen, this effort began in 2005 when political appointees raised concerns over the posting of routine climate data indicating that 2005 was one of the hottest years on record on the agency’s website. While this had been routine procedure for years, administrators–without scientific background and appointed by President George W. Bush–raised concerns that they and the White House were “blindsided” by the information. In the future, these administrators demanded prior knowledge and overview of press releases. The public affairs appointees–who in the past did not have any direct say over scientific matters–began editing press releases, writing policies that limited media access to scientists, and requiring interviews to be taped. This created a climate in which science was “censored” and news was often suppressed or delayed until it was no longer “newsworthy.” The book recounts these efforts in considerable detail that often makes for rather dry reading. While the importance and ramifications of their actions are obvious, the description of news releases bouncing between various facets of the NASA bureaucracy was not particularly interesting to this reviewer.

The last third of the book is considerably more interesting than the first two-thirds of the book. In that portion, Bowen provides an overview of Hansen’s work beginning with his graduate research into the present. During this discussion, Bowen’s writing is clear and the science of global warming is at the forefront. Consequently, readers learn much about the history of climate modeling and the methods that researchers such as Hansen are using to study global warming. There is also some discussion of so-called “global warming skeptics” or “contrarians” that seek to deny that global warming is happening. As would be expected, Bowen explains how there is little room for such claims in serious scientific inquiry and points out how many of the common arguments touted by skeptics are flawed.

Overall, while Censoring Science has compelling sections, it isn’t essential reading. Dr. James Hansen’s contributions to the study of global warming and his advocacy on the issue is admirable, but unfortunately it tends to get lost amid the focus on bureaucratic maneuvering.

Mark Bowen, Censoring Science: Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming, (Dutton, 2008).

Friedman “Pied” to Draw Attention to Global Warming and Capitalism

Thomas Friedman, a prominent “liberal” columnist for the New York Times who has defended the US occupation of Iraq and aggressively supported neoliberal globalization, was “pied” earlier this week by environmental activists who charged that “green capitalists”–like Friedman–are not aggressively dealing with the danger of global warming.

A video of the Friedman being “pied” and a press release explaining the action:

“Greenwash Guerrillas Pie Thomas Friedman on Earth Day …and challenge him to a debate duel!

Providence, RI – April 23, 2008 – On Earth Day, we pied Thomas Friedman at the start of his keynote speech: “Green is the New Red White and Blue.” The goal was not simply to disrupt his talk and stain his ego, but to disrupt and expose all that he stands for and the university’s corporate greenwashing of its image.

In the spirit of true debate and free speech: We hereby challenge Thomas Friedman and all other green capitalists to a duel.

This duel is about the debate over the future of life on this planet, and the ways in which corporate powers have hijacked this debate to make it the realm of “experts”, policymakers, and consumers. In exposing what Friedman supports, we open this debate to the public by questioning certain key elements.

Carbon Trading and Carbon Markets, enshrined in the Kyoto Protocol and the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2007, is the foundation behind green capitalism. In privatizing the atmosphere, the earth’s carbon cycling capacity is handed over as property to the same corporate criminals that caused the problem.

“Biofuels,” the much-touted alternative to oil, not only increase petroleum dependence, but are themselves a global humanitarian and environmental disaster in the making. Biofuels come at the expense of land for food, and from Indonesia to Columbia, traditional populations are being forced off their land for destructive plantations that are dependent on toxic chemicals, biotech seeds, and large petroleum-burning machinery.

The list of false solutions goes on, while the planetary clock is ticking. If there are to be truly real solutions to the many problems we face, it will come out of transformative social movements and not corporate boardrooms. For these reasons, we challenge Thomas Friedman and all other green capitalists to a duel, in which we will continue to expose their shams while pointing towards the social movements that are already creating solutions and transforming society towards a liveable, healthy, and non-corporate future.”